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This Is What Happens When a Bootleg Website Falls

From the Gizmodo.com Article by Darren Orf

Bootleg websites, usually tucked away in some shady digital corner filled with pornographic pop up ads and potentially malignant viruses, are a permanent fixture on the internet. Offering up tons of illegally free content, these sites’ creators are the reason why publishing execs toss and turn in their sleep.

Some become internet celebrities and millionaires, much like Megaupload’s Kim Dotcom, most others aren’t so fortunate. The New York Times’ Jenna Wortham documented the life of Hana Beshara, known as Queen Phara and founder of the infamous NinjaVideo. The website’s short, two-year lifespan between 2008 and 2010 allowed users to download almost any TV show or movie you could imagine—all free of charge.

NinjaVideo, as well as a glutton of other online piracy sites, represented the untamed lawlessness of digital copyright infringement. But in 2008, legal streaming options became available to the masses, and these illegal sites suddenly became even bigger targets than before, as the article describes:

Unknown to Ms. Beshara and her collaborators, NinjaVideo had been targeted by the Motion Picture Association of America, which says the site aided in the infringement of millions of dollars’ worth of copyrighted movies, television programs and software products. NinjaVideo went live the same year as Hulu and Netflix Instant, Netflix’s video streaming service, and the M.P.A.A. was trying to reroute Internet users to legitimate online streaming outlets like them. The M.P.A.A. identified what it saw as other offending sites, too, like NinjaThis.com and TVShack.net, and funneled the names to the government. Eventually, those sites went offline as well.

Wortham describes Beshara as a kind of scapegoat who the federal government wanted to “make an example of” to prove that they meant business. After spending 16 months in prison, Beshara was released in April 2013, marked by an exuberant proclamation posted online: “I’m back, bitches.” However, her parole keeps from contacting any of her old NinjaVideo compatriots until 2015, but even if she has no plans to return to the piracy game, she still has no regrets.

Bootleg or piracy websites are an interesting cog in the digital streaming machine. Don’t get me wrong, they’re illegal…extremely illegal. Beshara says she made near $210,000 in only two years, according to NYT. But if it wasn’t for these sites’ existence, it’s hard to picture what online streaming would look like today. Bootleg websites fulfilled (and still fulfill…don’t lie) that basic Veruca Salt desire of “I want it now” and the publishing industry may need to adjust to those desires.

Content providers, Mr. Swanston says, will eventually have to consider new delivery models that are more closely aligned with how people behave. He imagines collaborations with streaming services to release content or simultaneously scheduling theater and digital streaming releases — ideas he hopes his company can help bring about. Some companies, like BitTorrent, which makes file-sharing technology, are already experimenting in this arena.

Just this Friday, BitTorrent teamed up with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke to release a full length solo album, a first glimpse of BitTorrent’s future role in digital distribution, so in some ways, they way we purchase creative content online might already be changing. NinjaVideo, and other sites like it, are no doubt criminal operations, but those illegal outside pressures needed to exist in order to form the paid streaming structure we have today. That’s why sites like NinjaVideo will always be around.

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Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Coming to Amazon or a Store Near You… in October

We show Apple and Google releases a lot of love here but I thought we might show you a little something from Amazon, Kindle Fire HDX 8.9.

The new Kindle will feature the following:

  • Quad-core Snapdragon 805 Processor, clocked at 2.5GHz
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi, translation: Gigabit Wi-Fi
  • 2560×1600 (339 pixels per inch) HD Display, 30% more pixels vs. the iPad Air’s Retina display.
  • Weighs 13.2 ounces, 20% lighter than the iPad Air.
  • Dynamic Light Control that adjusts the screen automatically for better e-book reading.
  • Dolby Atmos surround sound and speakers 2x times louder than the iPad Air.
  • 1080p Video capture and 8mp camera
  • Fire OS 4.0 (Sangria) a modified version of Android KitKat (Android 4.4)
  • Amazon Free Cloud Storage for Photos taken with a Fire device.
  • Up to 12 hours of reading books, browsing , listening to your tunes, and watching movies.
  • Amazon Optional Gear:  Origami cover and the NEW Fire keyboard, a superslim 7 ounce keyboard with touchpad.

The specs are fantastic for the price coming in at $379 for the Wi-Fi only version and $479.99 for the 4G model.

Big shout out to Cnet.com’s David Carnoy for all the details on Amazon’s newest hardware.

 

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Amazon wants you to Twitch & it’s going to cost them $970m to make it happen.

So you have seen countless video game playthroughs on YouTube of some of the most popular games but were never sure how they did it. Enter services like Twitch, which allow you to broadcast your games live to the net. It’s a catching trend and Amazon took the opportunity to snatch up the service for the loft sum of $970 million.

Here’s what Cnet.com’s Donna Tam (@DonnaYTam) had to say about the purchase.

“Amazon, in its efforts to increase its video-streaming offerings, plans to buy live-streaming video game site Twitch for about $970 million in cash, the two companies announced Monday.

The deal, the largest cash buy in the e-tailer’s history, helps Amazon expand its video-streaming service, as it pits its fledgling Amazon Prime Instant Video streaming service against streaming giant Netflix. CEO Jeff Bezos has made it clear that it is committed to growing its video offerings, including the development of original content.

Twitch is a video platform that streams content geared toward gamers, including live gaming footage, commentary, and online shows. The company said Monday it counts more than 1.1 million unique broadcasters per month, up from 600,000 in November last year. Their videos are reaching more than 55 million gamers, up from 45 million before. On average, Twitch said, users watch 106 minutes per day….”

To read the full article visit CNET.com HERE.

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The ALS Icebucket Challenge, What is it?

So by now you have seen a million ice bucket challenge videos show up on your social media feed and it seems like a gimmick to self promote but it has raised a lot of money for the ALS Association. As of Today, 8/19/2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge has helped the ALS Association raise a whopping $22.9 million dollars in donations in less than three months compared to this same period last years’ $1.9 million dollar. Due in large part to the Ice Bucket Challenge there have been 453,210 new donors to the ALS Association.

There are some fun videos out there for the Ice Bucket Challenge from Celebrities like:
Bill Gates – Founder of Microsoft – Watch It Here
Chris Pratt – Actor: Andy (Parks and Rec)/Starlord (Guardians of the Galaxy) Watch It Here
Ben Stiller/Christine Taylor – Actor (Night at the Museum Series)/Actress (Zoolander) Watch It Here
Jeff Bezos – Founder of Amazon – Watch It Here
Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson – Actor (Fast and Furious series) Watch it Here
Plus many more including: Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Robert Downey Jr, and Chris Hemsworth.
Now that you’ve seen the videos, you may be wondering what is ALS and why are so many people dumping ice on their heads. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.
For more information visit the ALS Information Page HERE.

If you’d like to make a donation to help with ALS research goe to asla.org and click the Big Red Donate Button or Click HERE

 

Back To School? Break Out Your Wallet.

So if you have little ones, or not-so-little ones, you know that Fall semester is just around the corner and its time to get shopping. So we’d like to help you save a little money on the tech side of things. Here are our top 4 picks for deals for students:

1) Apple : Save up to $200 plus get a $100 app store gift card with your purchase. for more info go to the Apple for Education Online Store  or visit your local campus bookstore.
2) Dell : The folks over at dell have a deal for you at Dell University. Buy any Dell PC 699.99 or more and get a free Dell Tablet. Check out Dell University offers HERE .
3) Adobe : Want to save up to 60% off on Adobe products? Sign up at the Adobe Education Store.
4) Amazon : Get 6 months of Amazon Prime free and all you need is a .edu email address to signup.

 

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Bibiliophiles Get Their Fix

Kindle Unlimited might just be the Next Hit for Book Junkies!

Amazon’s Testing a new bibliophiles “drug” called Kindle Unlimited so now they can rent a new book anytime they want.

Even though Prime members have had the ability to lend books already typically that has been limited to one book per month but with Kindle Unlimited that could all be changing. With over 8,000 audio books, plus the existing Lending Library, book loves around the e-World will now have enough literature to rival a small library at their disposal. According to a cached Kindle Unlimited page, the new service should work on any device capable of using the Kindle App like Android, iOS, or Windows.

As of right now this is still experimental and so it may never make to Main Street but we hope it does, there’s nothing like downloading a good book while you wait at the airport or listening to one on your way to work. So if your listening Amazon, make this happen.

 

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Amazon Game and App Give Away

Free Games & Apps from the Amazon App Store

Hey it’s Friday and the work week is almost over, well for most of us, so why not treat yourself to some fun. If you own a Kindle device and want a few freebies from the awesome folks at Amazon then head over HERE. Available apps/games include Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Adventure Time Card Wars, Notepad+, and Accuweather Platinum just to name a few. Some of the games will not work on traditional or non-HD Kindle devices but they tell you upfront when adding them to your cart. The games and apps usually cost up to $10 but it’s not to often that apps and games are given away so go ahead and get while the getting’s good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Amazons next big adventure

The Next Big Thing From Amazon is Right Around The Corner

If you follow Amazon on Twitter, then you saw Amazon posted a YouTube video and a link to join their June 18th launch event. So what is this new device you might ask? Some are speculating that the announcement will unveil their new Amazon smartphone with 3D support, but of course this is speculation. Amazon made huge leaps into the tablet world with the Kindle Fire so we are excited to see what is to come in the smartphone realm.

Be sure to check out their teaser trailer here.

If your going to be in the Seattle area on June 18th and want a chance to see the unveil go to sign up page for a chance to attend the announcement party here.